Expert Access - Dedicated Phlebotomy Improves Patient Care in an ED Setting

Corinne Fantz

Corinne R. Fantz, PhD, DABCC

November 11, 2010

Live Q&A


Dedicated Phlebotomy Improves Patient Care in an ED Setting

Blood specimen quality and laboratory turnaround time can affect the quality and safety of patient care. However, in the interest of cost savings, many hospitals have decentralized phlebotomy services, allowing blood specimens to be collected by nonlaboratory personnel. The absence of hospital phlebotomists, especially in the emergency department (ED), has led to higher specimen contamination rates, longer laboratory turnaround times and ED length of stay (LOS), and increased use of antibiotics and other health care resources.

This presentation describes an initiative undertaken by Emory Healthcare (Atlanta, GA), where dedicated onsite or on-call phlebotomists were assigned to the ED during peak census hours. The program was designed so that the phlebotomists would promptly collect blood specimens from patients and mark them for priority processing and analysis by laboratory staff. The phlebotomists also provided additional support to ED clinicians by tracking and following up on laboratory results.

The program has reduced laboratory turnaround time, the time to physician evaluation, and blood culture contamination rates, resulting in estimated annual cost savings of more than $400,000. In addition, patient satisfaction has increased since implementation of the program.


Dr. Fantz is Assistant Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, Director of the Core Laboratory at Emory Crawford Long Hospital, and Director of Point of Care Testing for Emory Medical Laboratories, all in Atlanta, GA. She received her BA in Biology and Chemistry from Columbia College (SC) and her PhD in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of South Carolina. Her primary research interests center around laboratory testing in the pregnant patient, including new ways to assess fetal lung maturity. Other projects include collaborations to assess hemostasis in the pregnant patient and risk of fetal demise, and investigation of potential markers for respiratory distress syndrome in neonates using proteomic techniques. Dr. Fantz is a diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry.

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